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Explore Florida’s Friendliest Sarasota Neighborhoods

Sarasota, Florida is home to some of the Sunshine State’s friendliest neighborhoods. Additionally, the area is known for its culture, arts, miles of beautiful Gulf beaches. It’s a great region in which to work, play, and live.

Join us as we explore the friendliest neighborhoods in Sarasota, Florida.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Northern Sarasota

The neighborhoods of North Sarasota offer many options. First, the area provides access to lots of amenities. Check out options like golf and sports. The UTC mall is nearby as well as surrounding restaurants and shops. Then there’s biking and hiking natural habitat. Finally, there are unique attractions. Explore Nathan Benderson Park and Big Cat Habitat Gulf Coast Sanctuary. There’s also the Celery Fields for birding.

The Meadows Country Club is located just minutes from Downtown Sarasota. This posh neighborhood has it all. There are three golf course, a tennis complex, and a junior Olympic pool. Nature lovers will enjoy the walking and biking trails.

Nestled along the Braden River, Mote Ranch is home to ten sub-divisions. Each set among acres of conservation areas, lakes, and lush landscaping. Additionally, families will love the recreation center, playground, and large heated pool. Don’t miss the walking trails through natural areas or the kayak launches and fishing spots.  

Upscale University Park Country Club is surrounded by tropical gardens. In addition, there’s world-class golf and tennis. Similarly, The Club offers a fitness center, special events, and social activities. Finally, indulge in contemporary cuisine at The Park Grille & Café. Best of all, University Park is just moments from the action of Downtown Sarasota.

Downtown Sarasota

Check out the vibrant and eclectic energy of Downtown Sarasota. It’s all happening here! There are charming historic neighborhoods and sleek modern high rises offering condo living at the core of it all. Indeed, Sarasota’s Downtown area has something for everyone and every budget.

Step-back in time at Sarasota’s Rosemary District. This friendly neighborhood dates back to the 1880s. Stroll among cafes, bistros, and antique shops. Enjoy laid-back venues featuring live local music. Check out one-of-a-kind classic properties with modern amenities.

Sarasota’s Gillespie Park is known for its walkability and charm. Explore the mile-long grid of historic cottages and duplexes. This friendly neighborhood features an off-leash dog park. There’s also plenty of fun for humans! Gillespie Park offers easy access to diverse eateries, shops, and activities.

Head to the southern edge of Downtown to Laurel Park. Discover this quaint neighborhood’s charming single family homes, and guest houses. This walkable community is steps from popular restaurants and funky boutiques. And it’s now a National Historic District!

Enjoy Arlington Park’s historic charms. The area boasts a blend of lush landscaping. The blend of property styles ranges early 1900s to sleek modern. Stroll to the amenities of the neighborhood’s park, including tennis courts, a lap pool, and dog park.

Downtown living offers easy access to the shops and galleries of Main Street, Pineapple Avenue, and the Bay Sarasota waterfront development. Proximity to the Van Weezel Auditorium, the Urbanite Theatre, and the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe make the neighborhood a culture-lover’s dream.

Central Sarasota

The community of Forest Lakes is at the heart of Sarasota. The established neighborhood is home to classic 1960s Florida ranch-style houses. The central location offers quick access to beaches, boating, and all downtown has to offer.

Southern Sarasota

Modern meets mid-century style in South Gate. Explore the historic community center. It’s a landmark Sarasota Style structure by famed architect Victor Lundy. This friendly subdivision provides amenities for every interest and price point.

Centrally-located Gulf Gate is near all of Sarasota’s best features. Enjoy quick access to the beautiful beaches of Siesta Key but with the convenience and affordability of mainland living. Explore the blocks of fun and funky boutiques and eateries along Gulf Gate Drive.

Sarasota’s Palmer Ranch is home to 20 friendly neighborhoods! Each offers diverse housing options from condos to estates. Bike or stroll the “Legacy Trail” along the area’s historic railway. Check out the stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Photo by Tracy Jones from Pixabay

Sarasota’s Barrier Islands

Sarasota’s Gulf islands are strung like gems along the coast. Each island neighborhood has its own character.

Technically in Manatee County, northernmost Anna Maria Island has a casual beach vibe. A short drive to the south leads to upscale Longboat Key.

Explore the shops and restaurants of St. Armand’s Circle with dozens of beautiful homes within walking distance. Slightly further east is Bird Key with its own yacht club.   

Siesta Key offers eight miles of award-winning pristine beaches, along the Gulf and Bay. It’s been recognized as the number one beach in the U.S. Waterfront condos dotting the island offer great views and access to the best of beach living.  Lido Key, just off of St. Armand’s Circle offers access to the finest of beaches and retail therapy!

Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores

Head west of Downtown Sarasota to Indian Beach / Sapphire Shores. This area, north of Downtown is in the center of it all. To begin with, check out Sarasota’s action, arts, and culture such as the nearby John and Mable Ringling complex and artsy New College. Then, explore the beautiful tree-lined streets. Finally, cruise along the waterfront of this beautiful neighborhood. The neighborhood is an easy ride to Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport.

West of the Trail

Just south of Downtown, West of the Trail is an upscale community. It’s conveniently located near shops, restaurants, and gourmet grocery of Southside Village, and the award-winning Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. It’s also adjacent to world-class Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Photo by Sumozmom on Pixabay

Manatee County Area Neighborhoods

Sarasota is surrounded by planned communities. Each offers amenities for every interest and lifestyle.

Lakewood Ranch is a large vibrant area. Stroll or bike the trails around natural preserves. Explore upscale restaurants and shops along Main Street. Afterward, join family and friends for events and activities at the Sarasota Polo Club.

Find luxury at Tara Golf & Country Club. Enjoy active living with the Club’s tennis, fitness centers, and restaurants. Tara has it all, and just a short distance to beaches, shopping, and culture.

Embrace the upscale options of Palm Aire Country Club. The Club is surrounded by 1,300 acres of nature. Have fun on two championship golf courses. Be sure to relax at the clubhouse and restaurant. Furthermore, Palm Aire is conveniently located near Sarasota’s popular attractions.

Photo by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash

South of Sarasota

Just south of Sarasota are four of the region’s friendliest communities.

Osprey is a residential area along the Intracoastal Waterway. To begin with community has something for everyone. First of all there are diverse types of residences. Then there are plenty of dining and cultural options.

Head south to the natural beauty of Nokomis and enjoy access to the Gulf at Nokomis Beach. Don’t miss out on the nearby shops, restaurants, and attractions.

Feel like you’re on vacation every day in Venice. To start, stroll the waterfront trails and green spaces. The next step is to shop along Main Street. Finally, be sure to explore the historic Venice Pier over the Gulf.

Find Your Favorite Friendly Sarasota Neighborhood

Explore the friendliest neighborhoods in, and around, Sarasota, Florida. The area has something for every budget, style, and vibe. Basically, it’s a great place to visit, and an easy place to live. In time, the hard part will be deciding which neighborhood to make your own.

Connect with the Sarasota expert real estate team of Keith Kropp and Wayne Rogers to find out what neighborhoods are the best fit for you.

Learn more about this vibrant area with Outcoast’s Gay Sarasota Travel Guide!


***Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Written by Jacqui May

Jacqui May has a background in nonprofit project management and writing. She is currently a freelance consultant, Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, and writer. She enjoys working with diverse organizations to connect them with resources, and make a difference in the community.

Jacqui is a straight ally and several of her close family and friends identify as lgbtq. She volunteers with organizations serving veterans, developmentally disabled adults, the homeless, and low-income community members.

Originally from New York City, she is a long-time Floridian and has extensively explored the Sunshine State. Jacqui loves history and believes that everyone has a story worth listening to.


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